Sunday, February 27, 2011


Today the kids and I are home for the 3rd day in a row.  I know I've done this before, but when it's not by choice it becomes old and annoying very quickly.  I've lived on a mountain where the snow stranded us for 4 days or more at a time.  That was annoying, but I think more annoying than that, is being stranded when the weather is not the reason.  You see, my daughter is not feeling well right now so we are stuck at home till she feels better.

As I sit here, I keep thinking that it would be nice if things were back to "normal."  But even that normal will not last for long.  In fact, we hope to be ready to leave Virginia in the next week or so.  Then we will have to create a new normal for ourselves.  I'm kind of looking forward to that, but I'm also wishing that our new normal would be a bit more permanent. 

I realize there is nothing normal about my life right now.  At this point, I'll just be happy if I can leave the house tomorrow to get a few errands done that have been waiting for a while.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One Crafty Lady

My grandmother is an artist.  I mean a REAL artist.  She just turned 92 so she's doesn't have the mobility and hand dexterity that she used to, but she used to be a prolific painter and sculptor.  She's never sold her work as far as I know;  she just did it for the love and enjoyment of doing it. 

My mom and little brother can draw and paint like her, but not me.  I can do stick people and some basic animals (butterflies and bees).  When growing up, I remember being in art class and wondering why I didn't get any of those skills. 

Yesterday, I realized that my artistic gift is not so much in drawing, painting, and sculpting.  Mine is in crafts.  As a mom of 2 small children, crafts have become a staple in my house.  You know what - I have come up with some interesting ideas too.  I have been cross stitching for years.  I can follow patterns for cross-stitch, but I can also make adjustments to them to make them look better and meet my specific needs.  I have also recently learned how to knit (a skill I am hopeful I will become really good at).  I can also sew. 

Until yesterday, all I did in the relm of sewing was to repair things or to make fleece baby blankets.  My confidence was lifted when I made a pillow yesterday.  Not just any pillow, but a 3D pillow.  I sewed together 6 panels (one of which had a 30" zipper in it).  Oh, and none of it with a pattern... just the measurements of the space in the camper that I needed the pillow to fit.

To borrow a phrase a friend of mine likes to use... I think I have mad [crafting] skills.  Thanks Grandma for passing some artistic skills along to me after all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Warm Weather = Progress

Here in Northern Virginia the weather the last week has been quite nice.  This has made it so hubby and I have been spending quite a bit of time working on the camper.  Granted we have all the incentive in the world right now to get things done.  You see, there is snow expected tonight as well as the record breaking temps of the last few days are going to be a thing of the past. 

Our goal right now is to try to leave this coming weekend.  I'm not sure if we will be ready to leave this weekend, but I think we will be able to leave sometime early next week. 

Part of me is excited, and part of me is a bit nervous.  I'm looking forward to being in "our" house.  I'm not looking forward to driving the camper from place to place.  You see, the length of the truck and the camper combined is going to be 40 ft.  We're going to have to stop at truck stops for gas and food.  We're also going to have to plan any trips off the highway carefully so we don't get stuck in a position where it's hard to turn around.

We did find out that Google map on our iPad is AWESOME and allows us to scope out our route.  We were a bit worried that our truck didn't have a GPS when we first got it, but to be honest, we like the iPad better.  Considering there are many other people traveling with a travel trailer, I'm sure we will find other things along the way that will help us get around. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's All About Who You Talk To

We did it!!! Yippy!  We got the registration on our truck fixed.  All we did was show the lady at the front counter the manual from our truck and explain to her why it was important for us to get it fixed and she got it done! 

It only cost us $2 to get the registration reprinted and maybe 15 minutes of our time.  If only she had been there the first time we went in to get it handled, I'm sure we would have gotten it done a long time ago.

Sure does feel good to have that done.  I think I will now relish the fact that I FINALLY get to check that task off my to-do list.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Time flies

Today is my son's 7th birthday.  It's hard to believe that 7 years ago today our lives changed for ever!  Every year on his birthday I relive the day like it was yesterday.  What memories!

That day is also memorable to my husband and me because it was also the birth of his business.  While I was in labor, he had a business meeting that set in motion a business that has allowed my husband to work from home for the last 7 years (Don't worry, I told him to go.  I WANTED him to go.  You see, with every contraction he gave me this look and after a while it got on my last nerve!).  Seven years later, the company is in the process of closing, but it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to see first hand just the kind of man he is.  I believe it's also allowed him to be around in a way that many father's never have the opportunity.

As enjoyable as having my husband home for the last 7 years has been, the last 7 years with my son have been spectacular!  It has been such a wonderful experience to see him grow and learn (and teach me a few things as well).  And more recently to be his "teacher" has magnified that.

I'm excited to see what happens over the next 7 years, but I certainly don't want to rush them.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bureaucracy and DMV

I don't know of anyone that enjoys going to DMV, but I think it's safe to say, hubby and I now DESPISE going to DMV.  Between the two of us, hubby and I have gone to DMV 4 times over the last 2 months (and there is at least one more trip necessary).  We've also made numerous phone calls to DMV as well as Virginia state police and spent hours doing on-line research.

You see, back in December, we traded in our car for a pickup truck, sold an RV, and purchased a travel trailer.  That means dealing with tags, titling, and registration for each item (4 "vehicles" in total). We were not supposed to need to go to DMV for the pickup truck because the dealer was going to do that for us.  Unfortunately, two of our trips thus far have involved correcting a mistake the dealer made with the pickup truck.

We have been learning over the last week or so that tagging a pickup in the state of Virginia is a very unique task.  Personal property taxes are assessed on vehicles based on their value, weight, or a combination of the two.  I get that and have no problem with it.  My new truck puts more stress and strain on the roads than a Prius, so I pay more. I'm cool with that.

The problem we are encountering is that the field VA uses for tax purposes is also the field they use to specify how much a truck is allowed to tow.  Our current problem lies in the fact that when registering our truck, they skipped the field that all the OTHER states use to determine how much a truck is allowed to tow legally.   Keep in mind that Virginia does not use that field, so everyone we're talking to (including the state police) says that we will have no problem if we get pulled over.  And you know what... that's true in Virginia.  Not only that, but DMV claims they cannot put anything in that field.

But, we're not planning on driving in just Virginia.  All the other states want that one specific field filled in (you know the one that is blank and DMV says they can't fix).  Why's it a big deal to us?  Because if we get pulled over and that field is empty, we can be (and probably will be) given a ticket for somewhere in the realm of $3000 - $5000.  Can you say OUCH!?!

We were finally able to get someone to agree to redo the title and registration if we can prove that it was done incorrectly.  We've gathered the proof and we are hopeful that when we leave DMV next time, that things will be in order. 

We will be SO happy when this is all over.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A tribute to Mom!

Today is my birthday.  Yes, I admitted it.  In fact, I am willing to shout it from the mountain tops!  Why?  Not because I am OK with being a year older (I am though), but because I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my mom.  

You see, some years ago I realized that birthday's are celebrated all wrong.  Afterall, I didn't really DO anything on my birthday.  My mom was the one who did all the work (ok, maybe the doctors and nurses helped a bit), but all I did was show up.  That's why for the last few years, I have given my mother a gift on my birthday.  This year, she is in Florida visiting with her mom, but she will be back in a few days (Being that she will probably read this I am not going to say what I'm giving her when she returns).

What I do want to share with you is what my mom has taught me over the last ___ years (I'm ok with being older but that doesn't mean I have to tell you all how old I am).  My mom has been a wonderful example of kindness; she is always willing to help others.  She is also a very caring person; she has always shown genuine concern for others even if she doesn't know them well or at all.  And over the last few years she has showed me what tenacity is all about.

So, on this my birthday, I want to tell my mom that I love her and appreciate all she's done for me and all I've been able to learn from her!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Walt's place

Figured out the pictures problem. Enjoy!

So, we got off the cruise ship and said to ourselves..."Do we really want to go back to Virginia?  Or would we rather look around Florida and enjoy the warmth and see if maybe we'd be interested in moving to Florida (we do intend to move South but haven't decided on exactly where)?  Guess what we picked?  Virginia.

NOT!  We decided to stay in Florida for a bit longer.  We drove to the west coast of Florida to Ft. Myers and visited with a friend of mine who I had not seen in years.  Then we drove up to Tampa and spent some time with my Grandmother and Aunt.  Then we decided to go to Walt's place (aka Disney World).  We ended up doing Epcot the first day, Animal Kingdom the second day, and Magic Kingdom the third (and final) day.

While at Epcot we learned that our daughter was not as fearless as we thought she was.  While on the "Test Track" she decided she didn't like fast rides anymore.  Keep in mine it went 60 mph for maybe 10 seconds and the rest was probably no faster than 35 mph.  After that, daughter and I ended up doing everything together and Daddy and son went off and did some of the fast rides together.  The day was ended with the fireworks and laser spectacular.

The Animal Kingdom was all about my daughter.  She LOVES all things animals.   The rides tended to be a bit more tame because they were designed to go through animal habitats so there was only one ride she didn't do that the guys did so it was a good day.  Animal Kingdom also closes earlier than the other parks which was good because of how long our day had been at Epcot.

Magic Kingdom was of course the favorite day for all of us.  We'd all gotten into a groove and had figured out the best rides for each kid.   It didn't hurt that they have many more rides to choose from (even with a few of them being closed for renovations - the downside of going "off season").  Mommy also got to ride a few of the bigger rides with son while daughter rode a tamer ride with Daddy.